Data is the fuel of mobility. Don’t spill it for nothing

data idea.jpeg

(Franki Chamaki, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Mouchka Heller, Project Manager, Seamless Integrated Mobility System, World Economic Forum & Maya Ben Dror, Lead, Autonomous and Urban Mobility, Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum


In spite of its ubiquity, “data” is still an intimidating, catch-all word for many of us who realise our daily online footprint feeds the small and big machines of everyday life. Even when we use online maps, order rides, rent bikes and scooters, and commute while using these mobility apps, our location and time stamp is collected. In some parts of the world, it might even be collected as we wait patiently at the light of a particularly busy intersection or get on a bus; in the future, autonomous vehiles might “eye” everything within and around them, including us.

The information our data is providing holds the key to a new mobility future, be it public- or private sector-led. It helps determine the right number of trains at rush hour, or the right location for a bike dock that helps us move more effortlessly. “Data” is almost a code name for the promise of a world that can become truly efficient and seamless, and can make our lives much better – if used by the right entities in the right way.

A mobile world

Mobility is a key part of this promise. A new mobility future is about more than moving from point A to point B; it is about everyone being able to get to their dream job, getting the kids safely to school, being able to squeeze in the gym on the way, and making doctor’s appointments on time. But this vision will not be realized easily for everyone; accommodating different physical and mental needs, those of the young and lower socio-economic classes, to name a few, will require a concerted effort. Mobility’s toll on public resources such as street space, air quality and global warming would also need to be addressed before it can offer true sustainability to our cities.

Well, if you have data on local average household income, on the cost of insurance, and cars and gas prices, you can start by figuring out the actual footprint of mobility on society. Then if you have data on public transit routes, route performance (including delays, cancellations and accidents), and stations for micro-mobility solutions, you can know whether more sustainable and effective alternatives are available. By overlaying this information with more data on where hospitals, fresh produce, schools, large employers and parks would be, we could increase the outreach of sustainable and more affordable mobility options. Finally, by becoming a champion of the open data movement, like London and Helsinki, a city could combine user information with data from private mobility providers, then allowing mobility users to negotiate the perfect commute for them and the greater good.

Given the number of possibilities, it is no surprise that cities around the world have become one of the driving forces in data-driven mobility solutions. Many have already started to develop standardized requests for data from mobility-service providers, including New York City and Los Angeles. Finland has possibly developed the new era of data regulation the furthest so far through the Act on Transport Services, which mandates open software standards for essential data for all stakeholders, and ticketing and payment for all passenger-transport service providers. The aim of the act is to enable user-centric mobility services for all, while also aiming to guarantee a level playing field for all stakeholders and more complete intelligence throughout the whole transport system.

But the question begs: are our cities ready for the potential data they can access? Lack of personnel and ability to compete in this regard with the private sector poses a key challenge. This is one reason why the private sector has come in to fill in a lot of the gaps in terms of designing, developing and launching data-driven solutions for the mobility sector. There is a cost to this contribution, though: the data gathered to make new products and solutions work, and optimize existing infrastructure, comes with a high price tag. In fact, datasets can be bought, rented, sold or shared for commercial purposes. Can they guide us to a sustainable travel future?

How should your data drive sustainable new mobility?

The price tag put on all this data is no more than a guess. A guess of what us, the users, are willing to trade in. Data is a financial asset that does not yet have a mature pricing framework that includes the many externalities of travel – the societal, economic and environmental spillovers of mobility. It is incumbent on all of us – the users, the individuals – to make an informed decision about the value that should be assigned to our data. The decision to include factors that have failed to be folded into current mobility costs: air quality and resulting health risks, street space and the resulting depletion in quality of life, climate change and resulting threats to mankind, to name a few.

In 2014, a qualitative study offered a cookie to any stranger walking down a New York street in exchange for personal information like date of birth, a copy of their driver’s license, or an address. Three hundred and eighty individuals traded in their personal information for a cookie that day. Over half agreed to have their picture taken, and 117 people allowed the researcher to take their fingerprints. The researcher did not even provide a reason for asking for the information. Are we any more educated and ready to have a global conversation, five years later?

 

The proposition with which we are now presented is not exactly a cookie. If you knew that the collective value of mobility data generated by the swiping of our fingertips could translate into a life-changing profit for the public good, reduce carbon emissions significantly, or give a baby access to healthcare, would you give yours up? Don’t answer just yet and take a minute to understand what you are giving up, and what you should have a right to expect in return. Then practice until you are back in the driver’s seat.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Eliminating hepatitis calls for ‘bold political leadership, with investments to match,’ UN health chief says

UN chief calls for ‘enlightened self-interest’ from world leaders to save ‘the whole planet’ from climate change

UN rights chief ‘strongly’ condemns ‘shocking’ mass executions in Saudi Arabia

China’s lead in the global solar race – at a glance

Palestine refugees’ relief chief warns Security Council money to fund Gaza operations will run out in mid-June

Tax Inspectors Without Borders making significant progress toward strengthening developing countries’ ability to effectively tax multinational enterprises

Women’s voices must be heard in the battle to save the ocean

EU adopts new €100 million assistance package to benefit refugees and local communities in Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

EU Trust Fund for Africa: new migration-related actions to protect vulnerable people and foster resilience of host communities in North of Africa

Food safety: more transparency, better risk prevention

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

EU Commission indifferent on Court of Auditors’ recommendations

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

Which countries have the highest unemployment rates?

Health & Sustainable Development Goals: it’s about doing what we can

Here are 5 security challenges Nigeria’s leader must tackle

At COP24, countries agree concrete way forward to bring the Paris climate deal to life

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

Release of prize-winning Reuters journalists in Myanmar welcomed by UN

Is the EU competent enough to fight human smuggling in 2015?

Three ways Finland leads the world – and education isn’t one of them

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

EU Council: The US airlines may freely pollute the European air

Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

From cheeseburgers to coral reefs, the science of decision-making can change the world

European Commission: the LED lights of your Audi A6 shall save our planet

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

COP24: World sports join team UN in race against climate change

‘We need to do more’ to transform the world, deputy UN chief tells African audiences

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

Businesses, governments and consumers to implement a more climate-friendly approach to #BeatPlasticPollution on World Environment Day 2018

European Development Days 2013

The mother of all fights about inflation, growth and banks

Europe on the Move: Commission completes its agenda for safe, clean and connected mobility

Tunisia wants to change inheritance rules to boost gender equality

ECB indicates south Europeans can endure more austerity

The movement of anti-vaccers: taking humanity back 200 years

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

Counting unemployment in the EU: The real rate comes to anything between 16.1% and 20.6%

Spotlight Initiative – EU and UN fight against domestic violence in the Pacific region

Global economy to see ‘steady’ growth of three per cent in 2019 despite risks, says UN

The Ecofin Council creates officially the clan of ‘undead’ banks

Collaboration: the key to success in the digital economy

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

EU’s unsparing question to UK: now what kind of future relations do you want?

Outgoing UN official praises Iraq’s ‘exemplary peaceful transfer of power’ at the top

EU Commission draws the wrong conclusions

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

How smarter machines can make us smarter humans

G20: Less growth, more austerity for developing countries

Our healthcare systems are ailing. Here’s how to make them better

From drones to health data, how Japan can power ahead

ECB offers plenty and cheap liquidity to support growth in all Eurozone countries

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Forget about growth without a level playing field for all SMEs

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s